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« What if the Intelligent Design case were applied to global warming? | Main | Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s weasel letter to Cheney »

December 22, 2005



Well, Douglas Adams said that God can never reveal his existence, because proof belies faith, and without faith he is nothing.

So you could argue that God would specifically ignore prayers which are part of a scientific program to determine the existince of God ;)

And since "He" is omniscient "He" can tell what is going on and adjust for it :)

By the way, I take it none of the patients were told whether they were being prayed for.. because theoretically knowing might affect their recovery.

I agree with your general principle here. I've read some critiques of "Of Pandas and People" and they suggest it's flawed science. To bitch and moan and sue over this, when there are thousands of other scientific and quasi-scientific texts not being taught in school is arrogance. Yes, as I've said in the past, this sort of thing should ideally be discussed in schools but it is an advanced topic and students can't be taught everything relating to science. There's just too much of it. They have to learn the basics and learn them well.

Frank Warner

No, the patients were not told they were being prayed for.

Frank Warner

Judge Jones might ask, How dare these Duke medical educators meddle in religion? After all, what if they proved the prayers worked?

And yet, it most certainly was a worthy scientific experiment.

jj mollo

Well, as Jim Morrison said, "You cannot petition the Lord with prayer." It certainly didn't seem to work for him.

Frank Warner

Yes, I guess we could call this the Morrison Theory of the Soft Parade.

jj mollo

I've been wondering. How do we know that they did it right? Maybe they weren't the right denomination, or placed their left hands higher than their right hands. Maybe the prayers only work when you're in danger of dying. I know that I've always been granted my wish when I've prayed in those circumstances.

Frank Warner

And how do we know all those people who told telephone pollsters the liberation of Iraq wasn't worth it hadn't just come home from paying $3 a gallon for gas?

I've talked with friends about Krucoff's theory, and immediately I got the "Well, God made sure the study failed just to test us" defense.

I'm not going to defend or dismiss Krucoff's theory, especially on Christmas Day, but I will defend to the death every student's right to ask the same questions Krucoff asked.

Again, what if the study had shown prayer worked? Would Judge Jones have ordered Duke University retroactively stripped of all federal funding?


You make good points Frank. Science is great but not all science is good science. Plus the lens of the media and politicians only tends to distort it.

I've been doing a bunch of reading on Intelligent Design, Global Warming and some other science lately and overwhelmingly what I find in the public eye is rubbish. The findings often fail to take into account their own uncertainties (or the media reports uncertain results as certainties), there are heaps of unknown variables which are ignored, disingenuous mental maneuvers in order to make something seem to support your theory, mis-stating of the opposing theories, etc.

A lot of scientists are meticulous and clever and do good work, but I think it's a serious problem to assume that just because someone is a scientist, their results are valid. It's like medical studies - you really have to read the study yourself and analyse their technique before you can believe their conclusions. There are too many medical studies which show seemingly conflicting results for them to all be valid on the face.

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